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Jeffco Hero Awards: Lisa Ragon

Jeffco Hero Awards: Lisa Ragon
Posted on 11/30/2018
Arvada West High School counselor Lisa Ragon (right) chats with a colleague on her way to a student appointment. Counselor Lisa Ragon was on her way to talk post-high school options with one of the many students who drop by her office here at Arvada West High School.

Lisa is very good at what she does, and a big reason is her past, which included her work as a mental health counselor at Children's Hospital before making the transition into public education.

“She’s an amazing counselor and she will always go above and beyond for kids. My own daughter, who had a different counselor, chose to go to Lisa, because Lisa has a good heart and works so hard to get kids to where they want to be. Really helping them through some difficult things. Lisa’s able to do that,” said Principal Geree Santarelli.

The most difficult, the most unimaginable thing Lisa and her family ever faced, came during an outing into the Colorado mountains. A year ago, in June, Lisa lost her son, Noah, in a hiking accident at Hanging Lake. It was devastating for their family.

“He was an eight-year-old sparkling soul. Noah was the kindest, most generous kid that was full of life,” Ragon said.

“You can’t imagine this kind of loss. Just when we heard the news, it was so heart wrenching,” said Santarelli.

It wasn't until after the accident, Lisa started hearing all sorts of Noah stories from others that further demonstrated the generosity he displayed during his short life.

“He was very concerned about anyone being treated poorly,” explained Ragon. “He would ask every day, ‘do you have someone to play with?’ I didn’t know any of this.”

There is really no recovering from something like this. You just do the best that you can. Lisa says it helped to have so many supporters at A-West.

“I work in the most amazing school,” she said. “There’s no way I would’ve been able to get through this tragedy without the people around me.”

Lisa channeled her grief into purpose, deciding to take her loss and draw from it, to help students who would come to her seeking answers to their own painful situations. It redefined who she was as a counselor.

“It definitely hits me in a different place when people have difficult losses or difficult challenges,” she said. “I think it made me step back and look at it, in a whole different light.”

“Lisa, much like Noah, is always concerned about other people,” said Santarelli. “To see her continue that legacy, and that kindness that she shows towards everybody…she is our hero.”

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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